Sep 04, 2012

2012 SEC Previews: Texas A&M with Good Bull Hunting

We’re previewing the 2012 college football season with the help of SBNation.com. Today we talk with Good Bull Hunting on Texas A&M’s transition to the SEC.

The Aggies’ conference transition just got that much more difficult. Due to the storm path of Hurricane Isaac, A&M’s season opener with Louisiana Tech, originally set for last Thursday in Shreveport, has been postponed until October 13.They must now play 12-straight weeks, including a stretch that sees a home matchup with LSU before road trips to Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama.

2011 Record: 7-6

2011 Bowl: Car Care of Texas Bowl

2012 Bowl Projections:

Q&A with Good Bull Hunting

Describe the 2011 season in two words.

Groin punch. Can I say that? I don’t know how to put it more mildly. We were a preseason Top 10 team loaded on offense that was finally supposed to make a BCS appearance. Instead, A&M squandered second half double digit leads in five of its six loses. Let that sink in. To make matters worse, the final loss of that run was to our biggest rival in the last game of our series for the foreseeable future. Mike Sherman – a good man and offensive mind – lost his job as a result, and here we are looking and feeling very new going into the toughest division in the toughest league in college football.

What is the biggest schematic challenge for Kevin Sumlin’s offense against SEC defenses?

I think it is finding the right balance and identity in several areas. Sumlin has made it clear that he doesn’t expect his A&M offense to sling it through the air the way his offenses in Houston did. If that is the case, what’s the offensive identity going to look like? How often is A&M going to run the football behind a great offensive line with a deep backfield? Fans are interested in seeing how this unfolds against the best defenses in the country – defenses that are bigger and faster than anyone and will show complex looks and schemes at offenses. Fortunately, Coach Sumlin has worked in many different leagues and has the ability to adjust and adapt where he sees fit. The short answer is that is all going to be a new schematic challenge.

On paper, what looks like the toughest game this season?

November 10th at Alabama. This game comes after LSU at home, and Auburn and Mississippi State on the road. No other SEC team has to go on the road three straight weeks, and our travel ends with a trip to Bryant-Denny to visit the National Champions. A&M is lacking serious depth in the defensive front seven and Alabama has what many believe to be the best offensive line in the game. I fear they’ll do what Alabama always does – line up and smack the Ags in the mouth. Hard.

Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.

The worst case is a three or four win season with no bowl followed by an offseason of questioning if the move to the SEC was the right decision. I think best case scenario is nine wins and maybe a visit to Orlando to hang with you guys. Realistically, we’ll probably fall in the 6-8 win range.

Has the SEC brand made the Aggies more enticing to in-state recruits?

So far the results have been very promising. Sumlin and his staff are nearly finished completing the 2013 class and have a good start with 2014. The simple pitch of going to school close to home and playing in the best league in the country seems to be resonating with a lot of recruits that have spent the majority of their childhood watching the SEC win titles. Sumlin has rode the momentum very well over the spring and summer, but he’d be the first to tell you that they need to execute on the field if they are going to win the recruiting battles with our neighbor powerhouses.

One Question In The Other Direction

The Capital One Bowl has been working with the SEC for years. What was the reaction with the Bowl committee and staff when Texas A&M was added to the conference? If we ever end up in Orlando, I promise lots of ticket sales and filling up hotel rooms.

Answered by Director of Digital Media Matt Repchak

It was exciting across the board down here, because it’s rare that you see a conference that wins six straight national championships get stronger. A&M and Missouri were two of the most popular picks among our team selection committee (the “scouts” you’ll see on the road this season) because we always like to welcome new partners and build those relationships with fans. The Aggies are also one of those teams that hit the eight-to-eleven win threshold on a pretty regular basis, which means they should be on the board for the Capital One Bowl often. The only tricky thing now is getting all the A&M fans caught up on what we’re about and where we sit in the bowl selection order so they’re ready to buy those tickets and fill those hotel rooms when they eventually make the trip to Orlando.

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